SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) _ A small plane that crashed and exploded in a residential area, killing all three people aboard, sounded like it was having engine trouble just before it went down, witnesses said.

The crash Monday of the twin-engine Cessna injured no one on the ground, said Fire Capt. Steve Lang.

The plane clipped trees and cartwheeled into the middle of a street just after takeoff from South Lake Tahoe airport, Lang said. It was headed for St. George, Utah.

The pilot may have been trying to turn back toward the airport, he said.

Killed were Charles Maddox, 52, the pilot and owner of the plane, and Albert Amour Jr., 45, both of South Lake Tahoe; and Kirk Nairne, 30, of Zephyr Cove. Nairne was developing a 9,000-acre resort in St. George.